1. Take legal advice at an early stage and ask for an indication of the likely outcome
Getting legal advice at an early stage is imperative. Uncertainty is a great source of stress when a relationship breaks down. Although working remotely, most solicitors are contactable by phone, email and video conference. They will be able to give you an indication of the likely shape of the settlement and the process involved. Read our list of 10 questions to ask your solicitor at the first meeting. Your solicitor can also discuss alternative ways to resolve matters – through mediation, arbitration or the Collaborative process.
2. Seek help if stress is getting to you
Some people think that seeking help – emotional, medical or psychological - is a sign of weakness that can be exploited by the other spouse. It is not; seeking help is a sign of strength. Whilst friends and family are good sources of emotional support, seeking help from your GP, a divorce coach, counsellor or a financial advisor can be beneficial.
3. Ask your lawyer what the process is likely to cost
Don't be afraid to discuss this with your solicitor at the first meeting. We understand fees are a worry for many clients. Whilst not set in stone, indicative figures can be useful. Ask to be billed monthly to monitor what you have paid to date.
4. Avoid making any hasty decisions
Whilst it is important to be 'future focused', it is not sensible to make hasty decisions. Accept the advice of your solicitor (see point 1). Consider the consequences of any decisions and how they will impact upon you and your family, both in the short and long term. You get one chance to agree settlement terms, so it's important to get it right.
5. Focus on you. Keep active and look to the future
Look after your own well-being. If you are sleeping properly, eating healthily and exercising regularly you will be better placed to face your separation head on. Follow the advice of your solicitor and other professionals. Get on top of your finances and complete your 'solicitor homework' timeously; which could include downloading your bank statements or contacting your pension company when asked to do so. Most importantly, don't let your separation overwhelm you. Take time out to relax with your children or friends. Keep in touch with the positive influences around you. Although it may not seem like it at the time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.